Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Candolle, Alphonse Louis Pierre Pyrame de (France-Switzerland 1806-1893)
botany, phytogeography

Although not quite the revolutionary thinker his father Augustin was, Alphonse de Candolle yet exhibited a level of industry and logical acuity that led to his ascending to the top rank of nineteenth century botanists as well. Candolle succeeded his father as chair of botany and director of the botanical garden at Geneva, but retired from both positions in his mid-forties to devote himself to research full-time. He devoted some of his energy to doing basic descriptive botany (including carrying on his father's work on the Prodromus, and mounting his own project, the Monographiae phanerogamarum), but he also became deeply interested in phytogeographic studies. His 1855 treatise Géographie Botanique Raisonnée, despite its pre-Darwinian creationist orientation, featured much close analysis regarding the environmental causes of plant distribution, especially variations in temperature regimes, and is a key early title. Candolle would later come to embrace Darwinism (even translating into French Wallace's Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection), and the concept of evolution would inform two of his late works: Histoire des Sciences..., a commentary-like history of science, and Origine des Plantes Cultivées, an important early title in crop geography and the history of domestication. Candolle, like his father, was much involved in various forms of public service (he was responsible, for example, for introducing the use of postage stamps into Switzerland). Candolle's son Casimir was also a prominent botanist, as was his son.

Life Chronology

--born in Paris, France, on 27 October 1806.
--1816: moves to Geneva with his father
--1824-1873: continues the work started by his father on the Prodromus systematis naturalis regni vegetabilis, later on with the aid of his son, Casimir de Candolle
--1825: bachelor's degree, University of Geneva
--1829: obtains law degree
--1831: made honorary professor at the Academy of Geneva
--1835-1850: director of the botanical gardens and chair of botany at the University of Geneva
--1850: retires from teaching to concentrate on doing research
--1851: elected to the French Academy of Sciences
--1855: publishes his Géographie Botanique Raisonnée, in two volumes
--until 1866: active in public service in the Geneva city government
--1867: his Lois de la Nomenclature Botanique accepted by the International Botanical Congress in Paris
--1869: elected a foreign member of the Royal Society of London
--1873: publishes his Histoire des Sciences et des Savants Depuis Deux Siècles
--1878-1896: publishes his Monographiae phanerogamarum in nine volumes, with C. de Candolle
--1883: publishes his Origine des Plantes Cultivées
--1883: elected to the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A.
--dies at Geneva, Switzerland, on 4 April 1893.

For Additional Information, See:

--Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 3 (1971).
--Scientific Monthly, Vol. 19 (1924): 53-62.
--Taxonomic Literature, Supplement III (1995).
--Nature, Vol. 48 (1893): 269-271.
--Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. 28 (1893): 406-411.
--American Journal of Science, Vol. 46 (1893): 236-239.

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Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

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